We have seen a few steps towards self-realisation. Now let us discuss its implementation. Meditation is the entry door for self-realisation. Normally, when we sit for meditation, we make so many preparations, like breathing exercises, bending and stretching exercises, etc. We begin our meditation, as if God is going to appear before us. No, God will never appear before us. As we have seen in self-realisation, we have to realise the Brahmam by destroying maya. The first step in meditation is to question ourselves. This is Ramana Maharishi’s teaching. We have to enquire “who I am”. Think about our origin, how we had come to this earth, who would have created us and why we have come to this earth. It is difficult to find answers to these questions in the beginning. But when we probe deep into our self, we will get answers one by one. Only after getting answers for these questions, we can think of realizing the Brahmam. During this, we need not necessarily look into the basic aspects of meditation.
When we are set to seriously think about the cause of our existence in this earth, it is only the beginning of the process of realisation. During these initial stages, we are neither going to drive away our thoughts, nor manifest anything. Bagwan Ramakrishna Paramahamsa showed the form of Mother Kali to Vivekananda. Vivekananda did have the vision of the Mother Kali. When we are talking of Brahman as the formless, how can Bagwan Ramakrishna show the divine Mother in flesh and blood? That is because of the power of manifestation of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. That kind of manifestation is extremely difficult for people like us, as we have our own karmas to perform. The utmost concentration is necessary for such manifestation. Now a days it has become a fashion to get ourselves associated with Kundalini yoga. Except you, nobody can ever raise your kundalini energy. Even if you practice for years, self realisation through kundalini yoga is ruled out, as there are no proper gurus. So, let us not be under the impression that kundalini yoga will pave the way for quick self realisation. It is a misconcept.
Realisation cannot be achieved quickly. It will take its own time, in many births. When we start probing deeper and deeper into our own self, we will first realise our concern for all living beings. We will start feeding the animals and birds with our own hands. Then, we will start feeding the poor and hungry humans. Tears will roll down our eyes when we feel and see their happiness. If we decide to do the feeding with pomp and vanity, we only add our bad karmas. If we decide to feed them through our servants, again there is no use. No doubt, their hunger will be satisfied. But we will not get that everlasting happiness. This happiness will subsequently blossom into eternal bliss. This is the first step in realisation. We cannot attain this stage by sitting in so called meditation for hours together. The ultimate stage in meditation is that we should be meditating perpetually. We need no separate time to meditate. Meditation will be happening always. So, in the initial stages of self realisation, we will have concern for others. The concept of co-existence will be realised. This in turn will lead us to internal rejoice. We will take part in others happiness and sorrow. The hatred will not be there. Eternal love will start engulfing us. We all know that love is God. Then what next? How do we proceed further? From the initial level we are now going to move to the middle level. We have learnt to love others, thereby making our inner self to rejoice. Next step is to focus our attention on some form. We should remember here that Brahmam is formless. But for the purpose of our concentration and focus, let us manifest some form of a deity, like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa had done.
We have to manifest a very clear form of the deity, which is usually called “Ishta Devata”. We can use our imaginative power to give a form to this deity. For example, the deity’s complexion is blue. He or she has four or two hands. The crown on the head, the dress they wear, the weapons they hold and all such minute details. Constant and regular manifestation over a period of time will make the deity real for us. By regularly practicing this manifestation, we can start two way communications with the deity. This is absolutely possible and depends upon the power of our sadhana (practice). Initially, we may not be able to decipher the communication from the deity. But over a period of time, we can understand. Since, the deity is created by our own manifestation; the communication will be in a language known to us. Here the frequency and dedication are very important.
Let us understand that this is not the final stage of realisation and only a middle level. Let us also not confuse between Brahmam, which is Supreme and formless and our Ishta Devata, to whom we have given a form to our liking. This middle level mainly emphasizes on sadhana. We can also set specific times in a day to do this sadhana. At least two sessions of half an hour a day is the minimum. Two things are important. One is that our stomach should not be full. Second, no disturbance during this time. If we are able to achieve our goals in the first and the middle stages, the third and final stage of realizing the Brahmam will be easier. This stage will be discussed subsequently.